How the Type of Car Impacts Auto Insurance Premiums

What you drive affects how much you pay for insurance

When you’re buying a vehicle,CarTypeInsure_Featured there are many aspects to consider — comfort, fuel economy, technological features. — but one consideration that is often overlooked is potential auto insurance rates. And this oversight could be a very costly one, depending on the vehicle.

There are a variety of factors that go into determining a car insurance premium, even when it comes down to the vehicle type itself.

Size – It’s a common misconception that smaller cars often have lower insurance rates due to the fact that they have better maneuverability and ability to avoid a potential accident. In actuality, the opposite is true.

“Statistics prove smaller, sportier cars are driven at higher rates of speed by younger, riskier drivers. Because they’re involved in more accidents, they’re more expensive to insure,” reports Kelly Blue Book’s website KBB.com.

Does that mean larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs are cheaper to insure? Not necessarily. Bigger vehicles mean there is a larger potential to cause damage to other vehicles in the event of an accident, which inflates liability costs.

Price/status – KBB.com states that the cost of a vehicle is the first and primary consideration for most insurance companies when setting the price of the policy. Insurers’ rationale is typically that the more expensive the car, the more expensive it is to repair — namely when it comes to replacing parts, especially on foreign luxury vehicles, or when an entire vehicle is “totaled.”

Engine size – Speed comes back into play here, as the more horsepower a motor has, the more likely the car will be driven faster, leading to a higher risk of accidents. If motor size is not an important factor to you when choosing a vehicle, KBB.com recommends opting for a vehicle with less horsepower.

Likelihood of theft – This factor is somewhat arbitrary, as there can be any number of reasons cars get stolen, from overall desirability to demand for rare parts or even demand for common parts. Unfortunately, it’s those more desired vehicles that can carry with them higher insurance premiums.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) most recent Hot Wheels report chronicles the most stolen vehicles in the United States. Honda Accord and Honda Civic were the top two most frequently stolen, respectively, in 2014. The list was also inundated with sporty imports due to their high desirability and to the fact that many are convertibles, and soft tops are relatively simple to break into.

Age – When it comes to used versus new in the fight for lower insurance premiums, you may be surprised that there is no clear-cut answer. It’s commonly believed that new vehicles will just cost more due to the fact that they’re new, but the advanced technological safety features and structure of new vehicles drive down those costs. Cars can now more easily avoid accidents before they occur and can also better protect their occupants if an accident does happen.

On the other hand, used vehicles aren’t always cheaper, due to their likelihood of theft.

“Newer cars may be more desirable but are actually targeted for theft far less often, as they are often equipped with anti-theft devices and GPS tracking systems,” auto information research site DMV.org discloses. “Also, car thieves tend to target older cars because they can easily disassemble them and sell their parts for profit.”

With so many varying factors affecting insurance rates, you are not likely to find one single vehicle with the lowest possible premiums. Instead, speak with your insurance provider for more information and guidance.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

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Fighting Against Data Breaches

What you can do to keep your financial data safe

Shopping online is convenient,DataOnline_Featured fun and growing in popularity, but many online shoppers worry about the impact of data breaches.

One tip for shopping online with an added layer of protection is to open a credit or debit card specifically for online shopping. If you use a debit card or a prepaid credit card, you can control exactly how much money is at risk. Keeping a separate credit card for online shopping with a low credit limit provides the same type of control and also limits the number of charges on each statement, so you can easily go through the statement and identify anything that seems amiss.

“Also, look into virtual credit cards if your card issuer offers this service,” advises about.com Security Expert Andy O’Donnell. “Some card issuers will give you a one-time-use virtual card number that you can use for a single transaction if you are concerned about the security of a particular merchant.”

Even if you don’t use a separate card for online shopping, examining your monthly credit and debit card statements is very important if you want to keep your data safe. It isn’t enough to simply check your balance and scan your statement for big purchases.

“Scrutinize your statement for charges you don’t recognize,” according to science and technology writer Davey Alba, writing in a 2013 Popular Mechanics article. “These don’t have to be massive charges, either. Hackers will often test the waters with micropayments first, amounting to a few dollars or even a few cents. Then, when it seems like the coast is clear, they’ll go for a big-ticket purchase.”

You can also gain peace of mind by talking to your financial institution or credit card provider to learn what data breach policies are in place. Credit card companies typically offer fraud-monitoring services for free and won’t hold you liable for fraudulent charges.

“Some ID-theft-monitoring services are paid, which you can consider, but … your own provider will typically offer one for free, and [that] can be just as dependable,” states Alba.

Depending on your provider, you may even be able to customize the specific fraud alerts that are most useful to you and reflect your typical spending activities. Popular options include the ability to receive email, text or phone notifications if a single charge is greater than a certain dollar amount, if daily or weekly expenditures exceed a specified total, or if more than a certain number of transactions occur in a set time period, such as one day. You may also have the ability to receive alerts if spending is in excess of a certain amount you specify or is higher than your past average in a select category, such as merchandise or travel.

“When using the online checkout process of a seller, always make sure that the web address has ‘https’ instead of ‘http,’” states O’Donnell. “Https ensures that you are using an encrypted communications path to transmit your credit card information to the seller. This helps to ensure against eavesdropping on your transaction.”

Lastly, make sure to use strong passwords for any accounts you set up with online merchants or financial institutions, and change them frequently. Furthermore, don’t enter your payment information if you are not using your own internet service, and make sure that nobody can use your device without a password. If you do end up making a transaction on a shared computer, log out of the store website and clear the browser’s cache, cookies and web history.

If you keep these tips in mind when shopping online and talk to your financial institution about data breach policies and fraud alerts, you can gain peace of mind and stay safer on all your future online shopping sprees.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Careers That Can Help You Pay Back Student Loans

Six jobs that will help you pay for your education

A college graduate fromCarersLoans_featured the class of 2016 will leave school with $37,173 in education-related debt, Student Loan Expert Mark Kantrowitz estimated in a May 2016 report for CBS News.

Up six percent from last year, that average is only expected to grow. But it doesn’t have to be insufferable. While it may be too late for the 2016 grads, future college students should take notice that there are certain jobs that can help an individual eliminate student loan debt by simply being hired.

1. Teachers – According to the Federal Student Aid website (https://studentaid.ed.gov), teachers at public schools can get up to $17,500 in student loans forgiven when they instruct math or science classes five years in a row at a secondary school designated as “low income” by the government. Special education teachers are awarded the same if they work for five years at a federally designated low-income elementary or secondary school.

Another option on the education career path is teaching at any public elementary or secondary school, which can qualify you for up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness.

Furthermore, teachers with Federal Perkins Loans can get all of those loans forgiven if they are employed for five consecutive years at a school that serves low-income families; they teach special education, math, science, foreign language or bilingual education; or they live in an area where there is a shortage of teachers.

2. Civil servants – After 10 years of service at any federal, state or local government agency job, you can have the balance of your loans erased.

“The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer,” the FSA website stated.

3. Volunteers – While their career role may not technically be a “job,” certain volunteers with Federal Perkins Loans can get up to 70 percent of their loans paid once their service is completed.

“Didn’t get to study abroad in college? Join the Peace Corps and travel the world while also qualifying for student loan forgiveness,” wrote Senior Associate Editor at The Atlantic Matt Vasilogambros.

AmeriCorps volunteers also qualify under the PSLF Program.

4. Employees of a nonprofit – Similarly, people who work for charitable organizations qualify under the PSLF Program, but only if the nonprofit is tax-exempt through the IRS and is neither a labor union or partisan political organization nor a specified religious group.

5. Those working for the good of the public – Get all of your Federal Perkins Loans forgiven if you work as a public defender, nurse, emergency medical technician, firefighter, or law enforcement of corrections officer; if you serve in hostile zones in any branch of the military; or if you are a social worker for families in low-income and high-risk areas.

6. Various other job titles, depending on where you live – There are a number of state-specific loan forgiveness programs across the United States.

For instance, if you work in the health care field in many states, you can get some of your loans paid back. Eligible borrowers can even receive up to $160,000 in California from the California State Loan Repayment Program, according to a University of San Diego article, “60+ Ways to Get Rid of Your Student Loans.”

Meanwhile, working as a veterinarian, in a veterans’ home or in any STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) job can take money off your loan balance in various states. And these are just a few examples.

There are also instances where simply moving to a different state or town can get your loans forgiven. Vasilogambros highlighted a program in which you can capitalize on the need of the city of Niagara Falls, New York, to attract young people, and receive $7,000 in loan forgiveness over two years. But wouldn’t qualifying thanks to the job that you secured with your college-earned degree make it all the more satisfying?

Stop by to find out more about the student loan options we have for you, and we’ll figure out exactly what you need.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

How to Start Investing With Limited Funds

You don’t need a lot to get started investing

It may seem intuitiveStartInvesting_Featured that investing gives you the best benefit if you start early, but many people put off the task if they feel they don’t have enough information or money to start off the “right way.”

The good news is that you don’t need a lot to start investing, and there are many simple ways to begin. So, take the adage “There’s no time like the present” to heart, and follow these tips for making your first forays into the exciting world of investing.

Even if you only have a few hundred to a thousand dollars to invest, you should start now. Investments that are generally considered the safest, like bonds, are slow-growing and take time to make a big impact on your bank account.

Riskier investments, on the other hand, can experience big ups and downs while still maintaining an overall upward trend over the span of many years, so people holding these investments can earn big bucks if they have the time to stick with them over the long haul. The farther away you are from retirement age, the more you can afford to take big investment risks hoping for big rewards to match, because you have time to recuperate your funds if an investment goes south.

“The key, really, is simply to open an investing or retirement account and regularly transfer money into it, preferably automatically from your paycheck so you don’t forget or get side-tracked,” stated Kimberly Palmer, author of “Generation Earn” and blogger for U.S. News & World Report.

Now that you are inspired to start investing right away, you have to plan your strategy. Careful consideration at the start can help you avoid the potential disappointment and headaches that come when minimum deposit restrictions, fees and other costs catch you off-guard. Starting safe with investments in a 401(k) is a great way to begin. This lets you avoid the time commitment required to learn about the stock market, and it can give you the confidence you need to go forward to riskier investments in the future.

“Assuming you have a 401(k), save time and put your money into an index fund that mirrors the stock market (like an S&P 500 index fund),” states Personal Finance Expert M.P. Dunleavey for Betterment.com. “Or if index funds aren’t available in your 401(k), use a low-cost target date fund (keep the expense ratio at 0.5 percent or lower).”

Index funds are an especially good choice for people investing only a few hundred dollars, because many — particularly individual retirement accounts — have initial investment minimums as low as $250.

“After your initial investment, you can add as much money as you like, as frequently as you like, with no additional costs or commissions,” according to a December 2015 article by The Motley Fool. “You can purchase index funds directly from mutual fund companies, so there are no commissions to pay to a middleman.”

If you want to dive right into the stock market, you have to strategize to find the right way to invest your small sum because many brokers deal only with large accounts. The first thing to learn is the difference between the types of stockbrokers.

“Stockbrokers come in two flavors: full-service and discount,” according to Investopedia.com Writer and Co-founder of Second Summit Ventures Chad Langager. “As the name implies, a full-service broker provides much more in the way of service, but it only deals with higher-net-worth clients.”

With many discount brokers, you can open an account with a minimum of $1,000, but you should understand that you will receive fewer services than someone working with a full-service stockbroker would. Another option is to forgo a broker and tackle the market yourself.

“You also could purchase shares directly from a company through direct stock purchase plans,” says Langager. “Some of these plans have a minimum investment amount restriction, which ranges between $100 and $500.”

Now that you know the basics of investing with a small sum of money, cash in on your momentum and get started investing right away. And remember, if you need any advice about your particular financial situation, your local financial institution is your best resource.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Natural Remedies to Help Prevent Migraines

Avoid the headache with these natural tips

Migraine headachesMigraine_Featured are capable of derailing a day altogether, debilitating its sufferers with symptoms that include severe photosensitivity, nausea and vomiting.

According to the National Headache Foundation, around 28 million Americans suffer from migraines, and a large portion of that number suffers between one and four attacks every month. Migraines are typically treated with pain medication and bed rest, and there is no known cure for the condition. There are, however, a number of natural methods that can help stop migraines before they start.

Before considering any of the following, keep in mind that you should seek the advice of a medical professional before attempting to self-medicate.

Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have a multitude of health benefits that are linked to impacting everything from arthritis and depression to asthma and Alzheimer’s disease. Located in fish, nuts and oils, these good fats are also linked to a reduction in the likelihood of getting migraines.

According to Caring.org, a study out of Sweden found that participants increasing their intake of Omega-3’s experienced substantial decreases in both the number and intensity of migraines over a three-month period. The effect that Omega-3 fatty acids have on inflammation and in protecting brain cells is surmised to be the primary cause for this effect.

Feverfew
Feverfew is an herb that has a long history of alleviating headaches, and FoxNews.com recommends it in the form of a sublingual tablet called LipiGesic. LipiGesic, ostensibly feverfew and ginger in condensed form, was shown in a controlled study to have reduced the pain of migraines, with nearly two-fifths of all subjects claiming to be pain-free after two hours.

Caring.org also recommends using feverfew in conjunction with white willow bark, which helps improve its effectiveness.

Magnesium
One of the potential causes of migraine headaches is magnesium deficiency. Magnesium cannot be produced by the human body, but it can be found in foods including quinoa, soy beans, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, spinach and amaranth. It can also be taken in the form of a supplement, with FoxNews.com recommending a daily intake between 400 – 600 milligrams.

Riboflavin
Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, is also recommended as a natural means for preventing migraines. According to Migraine.com, a number of studies have pointed to the use of riboflavin as a cause for reduced number and severity of migraines. It can be easily found in foods including almonds, yogurt, cheese, whole grains, broccoli, asparagus and lean meats and poultries, and it is also available in capsule and tablet form.

Lifestyle changes
According to WebMD.com, foods such as chocolate, potato chips, alcohol and aged cheeses are common triggers for migraine headaches. Foods containing tyramine, preservatives, nitrates and MSG are also known for causing severe headaches. Skipping meals or fasting is also associated with an increased risk of migraines. Eating regularly helps regulate blood sugar, and drops in blood sugar levels can trigger migraines.

Another common cause of migraines is inactivity. While exercise that is too vigorous can trigger a migraine, not exercising regularly enough is as prevalent a cause. WebMD.com recommends moderate aerobic exercise as a way to reduce the likelihood of getting a migraine. Other recommended techniques include reducing your caffeine, alcohol and tobacco intake, regulating your sleep patterns and dealing with stress proactively.

While there is no sure way to guarantee the prevention of migraines, these natural methods should help reduce your odds significantly. Talk to your doctor before taking matters into your own hands.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.